Part 2 How it is-and why you should do something starting NOW Even today, a sizeable portion of the global population goes without sufficient food. And this when we're not even talking about what constitutes adequate nutrition. The U. S. is wrestling with the worst food inflation in 17 years. To make matters worse, analysts predict that new data will show that the situation is going to deteriorate. Thus, putting the squeeze on poor families and forcing bakeries, bagel shops and delis to explain price increases to their customers. U. S. food prices rose 4 percent in 2007. This is in comparison to an average 2.5 percent annual rise for the last 15 years according to the U. S. Department of Agriculture. Meanwhile, the agency expects 2008 to be worse, with a rise of as much as 4.5 percent. Higher prices for food and energy are again expected to play a leading role in pushing the government's consumer price index higher for March. Analysts are proclaiming that the Consumer Price Index rose at a 4 percent annual rate in the first three months of 2008, this an up from an overall rise of 2.8 percent. For the U. S. poor, any increase in food costs sets up an ‘either-or’ equation: Give something up if you want to pay for food. U. S. households still spend a smaller chunk of their money for food than those in any other country - 7.2 percent in 2006, according to the USDA. By contrast, the figure was 22 percent in Poland and more than 40 percent in Egypt and Vietnam. In Bangladesh, economists estimate that 30 million of the country's 150 million people could be forced into starvation. Meanwhile, Haiti's prime minister was ousted following food riots there. Nonetheless, the higher U. S. prices seem eye-popping after years of low
inflation. Eggs cost 25 percent more in February than they did a year ago, according to the USDA. Prices of milk and other dairy products jumped 13 percent while chicken and other poultry costs rose nearly 7 percent. Rapid economic growth in China and India has increased demand for meat there. Meanwhile, export of U. S. products, such as corn, have seen record increases thanks to the weak dollar making these products cheaper
As a result, a lower supply of corn remains for the domestic U. S. market thus raising prices here. Further. Ethanol production has also diverted corn from dinner tables and into fuel tanks. Elsewhere. Soybean prices have surged upwards as farmers have switched more of their acreage to corn. Meanwhile, drought in Australia has affected the price of bread as it led to tighter global wheat supplies. Twin Cafe Caterers, in lower Manhattan, posted a notice on its deli cooler which read: “Due to the huge increase of the gas, the electricity, the water and all the other utilities, we had to raise the prices a little bit. " Wonder Bagels, in Jersey City, N. J. , posted a letter from its wheat supplier, A. Oliveri & Sons, saying the recent situation was unprecedented. The Cheesecake Factory raised prices by 1.5 percent at the end of February while the Applebee's by 3 percent. For the poorest U. S. families, the higher costs may mean going hungry. A family of four is eligible for a maximum $542 a month in food stamps. Next we must consider the impact of rising energy prices on households and the economy. Economists are convinced that rising energy prices have slowed the economy down, while newspaper headlines debate how consumers are coping with the rising prices.
Energy Costs in 20 Years 1. Oil will cost upwards of $300 per barrel 2. Gas will cost upwards of $12.00 per gallon 3. The cost of heating your home will triple
Energy price-shocks of the 1970s led to concerns about the impact upon on low and middle-income households. Energy is a basic necessity of daily life so households have trouble cutting back when prices rise. Even though wealthier households consume more than middle-income households while middleincome households consume more than low-income households, consumption does not increase as fast as income. When income rises, energy expenditures take a much smaller part of the household income.
However, when price increases are large and sustained, the absolute size of the increase becomes a concern as well. The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times have both linked together the rising energy prices to the failed efforts to stimulating the economy through tax cuts. The bottom line remains; low and middle-income households are already feeling the pinch from increasing energy expenditures while the problem is unlikely to abate any time soon.
Lastly, we all need to bare in mind the increased cost of medical care in the United States and indeed in most other countries around the world: In 2007, the total national health expenditure was expected to rise 6.9 percent i. e. two times the rate of inflation. Total spending was $2.3 TRILLION in 2007, or $7600 per person. Total health care spending represented 16 percent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP). U. S. health care spending is expected to increase at similar levels for the next decade. Health care which constituted 16 percent of GDP in 2005, is expected to jump to $4.2 TRILLION in 2016, or 20 percent of GDP. In 2007, employer health insurance premiums increased by 6.1 percent i. e. two times the rate of inflation. The annual premium for an employer health plan covering a family of four averaged nearly $12,100 while the annual premium for a single coverage averaged over $4,400. The US health care system is riddled with inefficiencies such as excessive administrative expenses, inflated prices, poor management, inappropriate care as well as waste and fraud; all of which have significantly increased the cost of medical care and health insurance for employers, workers and their families alike. In 2007, health care spending in the United States reached $2.3 TRILLION, a figure which is projected to reach $3 TRILLION in 2011. Health care spending is projected to reach $4.2 TRILLION by 2016 and is currently 4.3 times the amount spent on national defense. Although nearly 47 million Americans are uninsured, the United States spends more on health care than other industrialized nation. This, when those countries provide health insurance to all of their citizens. Health care spending accounted for 10.9 percent of the GDP in Switzerland, 10.7 percent in Germany, 9.7 percent in Canada and 9.5 percent in France, according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. Premiums for employer-based health insurance rose by 6.1 percent in 2007. Small employers saw their premiums, on average, increase 5.5 percent. Firms with less than 24 workers, experienced an increase of 6.8 percent. The annual premium that a health insurer charges an employer for a health plan covering a family of four averaged $12,100 in 2007. Workers contributed nearly $3,300 in 2007 i. e. 10 percent more than they did in 2006. The annual premiums for family coverage significantly eclipsed the gross earnings for a full-time, minimum-wage worker ($10,712). Workers are now paying $1,400 more in premiums annually for family coverage than they did in 2000. Since 2000, employment-based health insurance premiums have increased 100 percent, compared to cumulative inflation of 24 percent and cumulative wage growth of 21 percent during the same period. Health insurance expenses are the fastest growing cost component for employers. Unless something changes dramatically, health insurance costs will overtake profits by 2008. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation and the Health Research and Educational Trust, premiums for employer-sponsored health insurance in the United States have been rising four times faster on average than workers’ earnings since 2000. The average employee contribution to company-provided health insurance has increased more than 143 percent since 2000. Average out-of-pocket costs for deductibles, co-payments for medications, and co-insurance for physician and hospital visits rose 115 percent during the same period. The percentage of Americans under age 65 whose family-level, out-ofpocket spending for health care, including health insurance, that exceeds $2,000 a year, rose from 37.3 percent in 1996 to 43.1 percent in 2003. This marks an increase of 16 percent. Economists have found that rising health care costs correlate to drops in health insurance coverage. Nearly one-quarter (23 percent) of the uninsured reported changing their way of life significantly in order to pay medical bills. In a Wall Street Journal-NBC Survey, almost 50 percent of the American public claimed that the cost of health care was their number one economic concern. In a USA Today/ABC News survey, 80 percent of Americans said that they were dissatisfied (60 percent were very dissatisfied) with high national health care spending. Boomers-Bank Rising health care costs is the top personal pocketbook concern for Democratic voters (45%) and Republicans (35%), well ahead of higher taxes or retirement security. One in four Americans say their family has had a problem paying for medical care during the past year, up 7 percentage points over the past nine years. Nearly 30 percent say someone in their family faced delayed medical care in the past year while most also go on to say that this was in spite of the fact that the medical condition was at least somewhat serious. A recent study by Harvard University researchers found that the average out-of-pocket medical debt for those who filed for bankruptcy was $12,000. The study noted that 68 percent of those who filed for bankruptcy had health insurance and that 50 percent of all bankruptcy filings were partly the result of medical expenses. Every 30 seconds in the United States someone files for bankruptcy in the aftermath of a serious health problem.
Quality Medical Care cost increase 15% Each Year
I hope by now I have your attention-in the next bit part 3 I will finish up on the How it is of this and start getting deeper into the subject. .
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